Lake St. Martin flood evacuees demand answers
Flooded-out Manitoba First Nation members say they want to go home
Members of the Lake St. Martin First Nation, who have been flooded out for 1½ years, are continuing to pressure the provincial and federal governments to let them go home.
About 25 flood evacuees and others gathered outside the Manitoba legislature on Monday to demand answers from both levels of government.
They are among the roughly 2,000 people from six Manitoba First Nations who are still out of their homes after flooding extensively damaged their home communities in May 2011.
Many of the evacuees have been put up in Winnipeg hotels.
The evacuees say they are being stonewalled in their search for new places to live, and some say they've given up hope that they'll be home for Christmas.
"Christmas is coming and this is going to be … the second year being out here in Winnipeg," Cherie Thompson, whose family has not been home since April 2011, told CBC News.
Thompson said she and her husband are renting a house in Winnipeg, and their six children are enrolled in schools in the city, but she added that life has been difficult away from their home reserve.
"Every day with six children, it hurts, and a lot of times … I wish I could be at home," she said.
Lake St. Martin Chief Chief Adrian Sinclair says his members have their eye on a new site, but are being pressured to accept an old military base that isn't suitable.
The province has created a temporary village — a decommissioned military radar base — near Gypsumville off Highway 6, while arrangements continue to find a permanent location for the First Nation members.
But only a handful of band members have moved into the temporary site near Gypsumville, and most have been demanding another location for a new community.
Lake St. Martin resident Myrle Ballard told The Canadian Press that her community is paying a heavy price because it was artificially flooded by water diverted from Winnipeg and other larger centres.
Thompson and other flood evacuees say they are hoping to get some answers from the province on Tuesday about when they can return home and start rebuilding.
With files from The Canadian Press